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Will "Ginger" Change the World?Aired January 11, 2001 - 4:48 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We are now going to peak your curiosity about a project code-named "Ginger." Now, the mysterious new invention that we're about to talk about is said to be bigger than the PC or the Internet.
Here's what we know about Ginger: Inside.com says it is not a medical invention. It is, we're told, fun, easy to sell, has a positive effect on the environment. It's designed to replace dirty and expensive products. Have you got it yet? Who knows what Ginger is? We are told it's -- by its inventor, Dean Kamen, author Steve Kemper, who is doing a book on the invention -- the engineers involved with the project and its investors -- it's -- is it a new energy source, a transport device? How about a hovercraft?
We are told its parts fit into two duffel bags and some cardboard boxes. And it assembles in minutes with common household tools. I am confused. So, is Ginger a load of hype or are we in for another amazing invention? Inside.com's P.J. Marks broke this story that's creating the buzz. He joins us now from New York.
P.J., you are writing a story about a book that's about a secret.
P.J. MARKS, INSIDE.COM: Right. Exactly.
WATERS: Explain that one to me.
MARKS: The book was bought without the publisher or the agent knowing what the project or the invention is. That was sort of the intriguing part of the story, which then I pursued.
WATERS: How can you create a market for a book of this nature? When you read it, you don't know what you've just read about.
MARKS: Well, in fact, the people involved in the project are what is intriguing about it. Dean Kamen is world-renowned inventor and has invented things that have already changed our world: a drug insulin pump -- sorry, a portable insulin machine, a drug-fusion pump. He unveiled an IBOT, which is a sort of off-road four-wheel wheelchair that can stand on two wheels and bring you up to the height of an enabled body-standing person -- and climbs stairs, in addition.
So the money is that he is doing something brilliant, and that this book will tell what it is.
WATERS: Do we know that Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs are invested in this project that we don't know about?
MARKS: I actually think they sit on the advisory board. John Doerr, who is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is invested in it.
WATERS: You have a quote in your Inside.com article from Jobs who says: "If enough people see the machine, you won't have to convince them to architect cities around it. It will just happen." Sounds like some monster. What could it possibly be?
MARKS: Well, I mean, I think that, as I talk about this more and more, I'm beginning to feel like it is maybe not necessarily one individual product. We know that there's at least two models of it, a metro version and a pro version. And there quite possibly could be many different models based on a concept, which is essentially what it is, is this concept that Dean Kamen has up with.
WATERS: Why this secrecy? Certainly not to sell a book.
MARKS: Oh, no, not at all. I mean, I think that the book proposal wasn't supposed to get out. And it certainly was just to document the progress of the invention from the start to the end: the ups and downs. The secrecy is -- obviously, Dean Kamen has something extraordinary he would like to protect. And that's -- you know, that's his right as a scientist.
WATERS: He's afraid, perhaps, that other people will pick up his idea and move ahead of him on it.
MARKS: Quite possibly, yes.
WATERS: OK. Well, we'll have to wait. You have tickled our imagination, anyway.
MARKS: Yes. Thank you so much.
WATERS: P.J. Marks on: What is it? We'll keep you posted.
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